Music in Videogames

As a music lover with a special interest in its application in games, Bogost’s chapter on music is important to me. Before I had even read the text I figured he would talk about games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, and how games that are directly about playing music can affect the player through tuning one’s ear to become a better listener, but when I had finished the chapter I immediately checked the publication date because there was some points discussed and I feel an important game was left out that only came out recently. The game is called Rocksmith, and it is a game that uses a real guitar, and actually teaches you to play by playing along with your favorite songs, in a similar fashion to the aforementioned games, but uses the real notes to the song.



I have not played this game myself, however, we already know that games can be used to teach without it being a hassle. Learning an instrument is a difficult thing, and because its so hard to pick up, people get frustrated and give up on it entirely. Games can take away the frustration and monotony of playing essential exercises such as scales up and down all day by adding things like reward systems and visuals like progress bars where the player can actually see how far he’s come along. I’d imagine that these games can be created for many other instruments as well, especially anything electric that can plug right into the console the way Rocksmith does. At the end of the chapter, Bogost wraps it all up, writing, “Altogether, plastic guitar, rhythm stylus, and visualizer remind us that music and games share a fundamental property: both are playable , offering their listeners and operators an expressive experience within the framework of melody and rhythm.” (36). This is truly the most important thing, in my opinion, that attracts players to these games, which is their expressive outlet. By adding actual musical practice and experience, these games can actually be pretty useful and enjoyable.




3 thoughts on “Music in Videogames”

  1. Rocksmith is a perfect example of a “video game” teaching something. After reading Bogost I’ve got a feeling he’s more of a realist, and has a very realistic point of view on games and society, where McGonigal was more idealistic. McGonigal is looking to a future where games can be an integral part of society, and I do respect that, but its intense. I’m sure all of us remember how big Guitar Hero was, no matter the occasion. The developers saw the success of Guitar Hero and took it a step further. Rather than just pressing buttons on a plastic guitar, they decided to add strings and real cords. It’s genius, keep the fun of Guitar Hero, but also actually teach people how to play. To me this is a step in the right direction of using games as a teaching method, similar to what McGonigal wants. Although Rocksmith is great, It will never beat just picking up a real guitar and learning on your own. There are some things in life that should just remain the way they are, I understand that were a developing society addicted to tech, but we need to keep it old school here and there.

  2. By learning to play the piano and saxophone from a professional instructor and using my brother’s guitar to play Rocksmith, I believe that although it does help you understand the notes, it does not give you the hands on experience you gain from an actual instructor. It allows you to understand the fundamentals of playing a guitar, but you are not really able to advance. Just like Just Dance, this game can help you in exercise, but also allow you to become more coordinated by dancing to the rhythms of the songs. I believe that Rocksmith is more beneficial in helping you play the guitar than Guitar Hero. I also agree that this kind advance in technology can help people become educated in certain fields such as musical abilities. For certain people, playing an instrument can be tedious and difficult, in which they want to give up. Also, you may even have stage fright or prefer to not be sociable. This game allows you to perform at your leisure in comparison to feeling pressured on stage or performing correctly for an instructor.

  3. Sounds like Rocksmith is a great game and really makes the game player want to play. Bogost mentions the fact that a good percentage of players went on to learn an instrument because of their experience with music video games. It seems to me that all the elements of playing an instrument can be experienced by different music games and probably raise the excitement of playing in concert with other players or with a musical accompaniment. There is also the visualization of some of these games where elements and figures will keep a beat with your favorite singers and as you said, they are all playable.

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